Evolution, Development, and Complexity (EDU Satellite Conference at CCS17)


CCS17, at the Cancun International Conference Center, Mexico

We are happy to announce the EDU community’s next academic meeting,  Evolution, Development, and Complexity 2017, a full-day satellite meeting on 20 Sept 2017, at the Conference on Complex Systems 2017. CCS17 runs for six days, 17-22 Sept, and is the leading gathering of complexity science scholars in the world. Three of the six days are satellite meetings focused on specialized topics in complexity.

CCS17 will be at the Cancun International Convention Center in Cancun, Mexico. Join us! Early Registration Fees (register by June 15th for these rates) are: US $350 (Student) and $525 (Academic). Three Half-Off Registration Scholarships are available for scholars with financial need. If you feel you need a scholarship to attend, email Clement Vidal at evodevocomplex@gmail.com

Here is our Call for Abstracts and Papers on EasyChair. Submit your abstract via EasyChair (set up a free account) or email your abstract to Clement Vidal at evodevocomplex@gmail.com. Abstract registration deadline is June 30th. Send yours in now! Here is more information on our Satellite.


The Evolution, Development and Complexity (EDC) satellite meeting explores how our understanding of the universe as a complex system might be augmented by insights from information and computation studies, evolutionary developmental (evo-devo) biology, and hypotheses and models of quasi-evolutionary and quasi-developmental processes applied at universal and subsystem scales. It is a topic in the Foundations of Complex Systems track at CCS17.

The satellite seeks to advance conceptual and mathematical models and empirical applications in three major and potentially foundational research themes:

    A. Evolution / diversity / phase space creation / unpredictability

    B. Development / constraint / phase space reduction / predictability

    C. Complexity / nonlinear dynamics / learning / intelligence / adaptation

These are the major research themes of the Evo Devo Universe academic research and discussion community, an interdisciplinary international group of roughly 100 publishing scholars investigating complex systems at all scales of universal dynamics. Researchers are challenged to consider how scholarship, concepts and models from each of these three themes in complexity science and philosophy may relate to and inform their work. The satellite seeks to evaluate biologically-inspired approaches to understanding complex adaptive systems at all scales, from the intersecting academic disciplines of complexity science, physical science, information and computer science, theoretical and evo-devo biology, cosmology, astrobiology, evolution, development, and philosophy.


The underlying paradigm for cosmology is theoretical physics. It has helped us understand much about universal space, time, energy, and matter, but does not presently connect strongly to the emergence of information, computation, life and mind. Fortunately, recent developments in physics, cosmology, theoretical biology, evolutionary developmental biology, information and computation theory, and the complexity sciences are providing complementary yet isolated ways to understand our universe within a ‘meta-Darwinian’ framework in which unpredictable and diversity-creating or “evolutionary” and predictable, convergent, and hierarchical, or “developmental” processes work together, via replication and under selection, to generate adapted information, order, and “intelligence” in a variety of physical systems at multiple scales. The rigor, relevance, and limits of an evolutionary developmental approach to understanding universal complexity remains an understudied domain of scientific and philosophical inquiry.

An evolutionary developmental framework promises to advance our understanding of both perennially chaotic, contingent, creative, experimental, and unpredictable processes (evolutionary processes, in a dynamical and functional definition) and of constraining, convergent, hierarchical, cyclical, heritable, and predictable processes (developmental processes) in the universe as a system, and of evolutionary and developmental process at all scales, including the human scale. If falsified in any part, this endeavor will improve our thinking about complex systems, and the role and limits of organic analogies in understanding other potentially replicating systems, including our universe as a system.

Fascinating new edited volume on the role of information in the causal emergence of complexity.

For example, convergent evolution in biology can be modeled as the result of networks made up by biomolecules or other agents that are organized and structured by information hierarchies emerging via top-down causation. The emergence of modularity and of functional equivalence classes in suboperations or subroutines – both in biological and technological systems – can be explained via such information hierarchies. Top-down causation describes the process whereby higher levels of emergent informational organization in structural hierarchies constrain the dynamics of lower levels of organization.  In a typical reductionist paradigm it is assumed that purely physical effects determine the dynamics of lower levels of organization and, by extension, strictly govern interactions occurring at higher levels as well.  But an emerging school of investigators hypothesize that the transition from non-life to life, abiogenesis, requires a top-down transition in causation and information flow (e.g. Walker et al. (eds.) (2017), From Matter to Life,  Cambridge U. Press.)

Opportunities for interdisciplinary synthesis and domain-specific scholarship in the three meta-themes of this satellite—evolution, development, and complexity—have never been better. Come join us, share your current work, and find opportunities to partner and publish both at our satellite, and at CCS2017.

For more, see our satellite website, Evolution, Development, and Complexity at CCS17.

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